Course Syllabus

Travel Writing

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Semester & Location:

Summer 2021, session 2 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Elective - 3 credits

Study Tour:

Gothenburg and West Sweden

Major Disciplines:

Communication, Creative Writing, Literature




Lola Akinmade Åkerström, 

Program Coordinator:

Sanne Rasmussen,

Time & Place:

Monday through Friday

Classroom 1D-508


Description of Course

The world is full of richly layered, diverse, and multi-dimensional stories waiting to be told. In this class, you will learn how to identify what makes a good story through showing versus telling, how to gather material, and how to craft a convincing piece of writing.

Our main focus will be on both narrative essays and stories, as well as service pieces and specialty articles normally featured in travel magazines. This is a hands-on workshop-based class. You will be writing your own material from the very first day, and we will spend a lot of time giving each other feedback on our writings. This way, you will get to improve your ability to read both your own and others’ work in a critical light, which will strengthen both your analytical and writing skills.

If permitted, we will also experience Stockholm, your new temporary home abroad, looking for interesting and unique story angles hidden in plain sight. We will challenge ourselves to view the city through fresh eyes.

Our 5-day study tour to West Sweden will allow us to further develop the art of seeing, as we take our writing exercises on the road and learn further skills in story telling.

We will wrap up our course with the realities and practicalities of professional travel writing in our world today.


Learning Objectives

  • To learn how to use writing as a tool for discovering, sharing and interpreting personal encounters with people, places and cultures.
  • To master important narrative techniques like writing scenes, finding your own voice and structuring the story.
  • To learn the conventions of good travel writing and how and when to break with these conventions.
  • To develop a portfolio of work which draws on your experiences during this term abroad, including observations, descriptions and reflections.
  • To raise awareness of ethics within travel writing and pitfalls such as stereotyping various cultures and creating singular narratives for others.
  • To understand the current state of professional travel writing, its evolution, and how to pitch your stories and ideas to a broader audience.


Lola Akinmade Åkerström


I am a Stockholm-based award-winning travel writer and photographer who contributes to publications such as National Geographic, BBC,  Adventure Magazine, The Guardian, Lonely Planet, Travel + Leisure,  Forbes, and many more. In addition to contributing to several travel books, I am the author of the following books – 2018 Lowell Thomas Award winner for best travel book, DUE NORTH, & bestselling LAGOM: Swedish Secret of Living Well. I also contributed to the National Geographic Image Collection and you can check out my portfolio here.

Study Tour

Our 5-day study tour will take us around West Sweden, exploring various facets of the culture, from gastronomy and lifestyle to traditions and more.

Fishing in West Sweden

Fishing in West Sweden


This will be a very interactive course which will include exploring Stockholm and its surroundings for field studies as well as our study tour. Please read the assigned articles and books, and come to class prepared to discuss. Our course will be very hands-on as we will workshop and critique each others’ work in class.

Please strive to be open and receptive during these critique sessions. Active participation will make up thirty percent (20%) of your grade so, ensure you attend all class sessions, activities, and group work unless in case of an emergency.


Our three-week course will be intense and require active participation and daily writing exercises. Each week, you will be required to write either a narrative story or service/specialty article.

  • In-class activities + exercises: These will be done in class over the course of our three weeks together - 20%
  • Active participation: You will be evaluated not only on how frequently and consistently you participate in class discussions and peer critique, but on the quality of your contribution as well - 20%
  • Three (3) assignments (each worth 20%): Each Thursday, you will be assigned a take-home exercise which must be submitted by Monday the following week - 60%


We will be reading and reviewing a wide range of voices during our short course. Travel writing has historically been narrated from a single point of view. Our recommended readings below will delve into lots of anthologies that bring together different voices within the same books.

The readings are split into two lists - Required and Recommended. We will be touching on the required books in class and will provide copies of the specific text we will be reviewing together if you don't have the books.

Required books

George, Don: How to be a Travel Writer, Lonely Planet 2017

Åkerström, Lola Akinmade: Due North: A Collection of Travel Observations, Reflections, And Snapshots Across Colors, Cultures, and Continents, Geotraveler Media Sweden 2017

Recommended Books

2019 Best American Travel Writing 

The Best Travel Writing, Volume 11: True Stories from Around the World Paperback  (2016)

Ten best travel books of the last decade (2019)  - Link to article

The Best Women’s Travel Writing, Volume 11 (2017) 

Bourdain, Anthony: A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines, ECCO 2002

Weiner, Eric: The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, Twelve 2009

Logan, Gabi: The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pitching Your Way to Better Pay, Translating Culture Publishing 2016

Durston, James: How To Sell Travel Stories: Advice From Editors, Travel Write Earn 2016

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due